Is your teen ready for the “Sext” talk?
Chances are you’ve talked to your teen about reproduction at some point, but what about the inappropriate conversations that could be happening behind the screen? If you are wondering if your child’s sexual curiosity is being expressed online where they spend most of their time, it may be time to have the “sext” talk with them.
It is estimated that 40 percent of all high school students have sent or received a “sext” and 70 percent of teens admit to sexting with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Parents should talk to their kids about sexting and teach them how to protect themselves, preventing serious damage to their reputation.
Why do they do it?
Interest in sex typically enters the brain during puberty. Between 12 and 13 years old, preteens and teens look for information about sex in any way they can, the easiest way being the internet.
- For 77 percent of boys, the reason for sexting is to initiate sex
- For 40 percent of girls, sexting is humorous
- While the other 34 percent of girls sext to feel sexy
Because of feeling pressured, 61 percent of both sexes engage in the behavior, but girls are asked to send risqué photos 68 percent more often than boys.
Is it dangerous?
A common misconception circulating among our children is that there are no threats like pregnancy or transmitting diseases associated with sexting. While this can be true, sexting has its own set of risks, and often exposes our sons and daughters to a variety of repercussions that can have a negative impact on their lives.
When to have the sext talk?
Our children’s connectivity and reliance on digital devices starts at a very young age, so the conversation about online safety should begin early and should build on that foundation as a child ages. It is recommended for parents to begin teaching children social media etiquette long before they hit the teen years.
TeenSafe has compiled a list of details to help this conversation go smoothly and accurately. Here are a few key points to include in the discussion:
- A sext lasts forever, with the potential to be saved, forwarded, and recovered years from now.
- Never send intimate texts to people you do not know in real life.
- Sexting leaves you vulnerable, giving another person all of the power in the relationship.
- If you witness inappropriate sexting, tell an adult!
- Teach them self-respect and to never feel pressured to do things they don’t want to do.
- There are legal ramifications that can negatively impact lives for decades.
If you feel you need to keep a closer eye on your child with a monitoring solution, go to TeenSafe.com, and for more resources and parenting tips, go to Teenology.com.